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Japanese court dismisses case arguing same-sex marriage is unconstitutional; US tech firms worried about H-1B kids “aging out”

Japanese court dismisses case arguing same-sex marriage is unconstitutional; US tech firms worried about H-1B kids “aging out”

Today’s global news summary brings news affecting Japan, the US, and the UK, and discusses issues as diverse as same-sex marriage, migration, and the cost of living crisis.  

Japanese court dismisses case arguing same-sex marriage is unconstitutional
Demography, family, and gender
As reported by Aljazeera, a court in Osaka, Japan, has ruled that the country’s ban on same-sex marriage does not violate the constitution. Japan is the only country in the G7 group of developed nations that doesn’t allow marriages between people of the same sex; the constitution which was put in place after World War II describes marriage as being “of mutual consent between both sexes.” While rejecting a claim by three same-sex couples that the ban is unconstitutional, the court noted, however, that more public debate on the issue was required and that “it may be possible to create a new system” recognizing the interests of same-sex couples. Opinion polls indicate that the majority of the public are in favor of changing the rules. Under the current rules, same-sex couples are not allowed to legally marry, can’t inherit their partner’s assets, and have no parental rights over their partner’s children. Partnership certificates issued by some municipalities help same-sex couples to rent a place together and have hospital visitation rights.

Nick Drydakis reminds us that “Currently, being gay or lesbian is illegal in almost 80 countries, meaning that 2.7 billion people live in countries where having a minority sexual orientation is a crime.” In most of Africa and Asia, he says, same-sex unions are illegal, which precludes gay and lesbian studies by default. 

Related content
IZA World of Labor articles

Sexual orientation and labor market outcomes
Should common law marriage be abolished?
Should divorce be easier or harder

Key topics
Diversity in the workplace

Opinions
Sexuality and the workplace: Coming out and losing out?

IZA Discussion Papers
Do Laws Shape Attitudes? Evidence from Same-Sex Relationship Recognition Policies in Europe
Symbolism Matters: The Effect of Same-Sex Marriage Legalization on Partnership Stability

Tech firms worried about H-1B kids “aging out”
Migration and ethnicity
A coalition of tech companies has written a letter to the US secretary of homeland security urging the government to allow the children of H-1B visa holders to stay in the US past the age of 21, reports Quartz. Over 200,000 children of such high-skilled immigrants are in danger of being forced to leave the country under current rules. The tech companies are concerned that if the children leave, so too will their parents, adding to the US’s tech skills gap. “This uncertainty harms families and prevents our companies from attracting and retaining critical talent in the US,” the signatories wrote in their letter. As of March 2022, US companies had 11 million vacancies, five million more than available workers. The coalition is encouraging the Biden administration to pass an America’s Children Act to create a citizenship pathway for these young people.

“Citizenship is key to improving the socio-economic and political integration of immigrants,” says Chiara Strozzi in her IZA World of Labor article

Related content
IZA World of Labor articles
 
The labor market in the US, 2000–2020
Naturalization and citizenship: Who benefits
The changing nature of citizenship legislation

Key topics
How does migration policy affect the labor market?

Opinions
Should governments intervene in the assimilation of immigrants?
Labor issues in the Biden administration

IZA Discussion Papers
H-1Bs: How Do They Stack Up to US Born Workers?
Flight of the H-1B: Inter-Firm Mobility and Return Migration Patterns for Skilled Guest Workers

Rolls Royce to pay staff £2,000 living-cost bonus 
Behavioral and personnel economics
More than 14,000 staff at Rolls Royce in the UK are to receive a £2,000 one-off payment to help them with the country’s cost of living crisis, reports the BBC. Three thousand staff will receive the payment in their August pay packet, whilst the remaining 11,000 unionized employees will receive theirs once their union has approved ongoing pay discussions. The payment will be for junior management and shop floor staff, mainly based at its Derby and Bristol sites, said the engineering firm. Inflation in the UK—the rate at which prices rise—currently stands at 9%, and is expected to increase again later this year.

IZA World of Labor author Tony Fang tells us in an opinion piece about profit sharing that “by making employee earnings more responsive to financial circumstances, employers may be able to better manage their costs in poor economic times, making profit sharing a win–win for both employees and employers.”

Related content
IZA World of Labor articles 

The consequences of trade union power erosion
Union wage effects
Bosses matter: The effects of managers on workers’ performance

Key topics
Personnel economics
Trade unions and collective bargaining
What can policymakers do to reduce poverty?

Opinions
The union wage premium: Is it real?
Do employees profit from profit sharing?
Is CEO pay econimically justified?

IZA Discussion Papers
Evolution of Union Wages and Determinants